A Religious Liberal Blog

This site hopefully can provide some vehicle by which I can comment, complain, and once in a while praise the state of religion in this country and around the world from a liberal protestant perspective.

Monday, August 01, 2005

There is a certain glee, a heady excitement, on the right when it comes to their desire to break up the Anglican Communion. It's moved beyond punishing gays or even liberals to punishing the church as a whole. David Virtue's site is filled with such language, such as when he says "the Episcopal Church..is looking up at noose thrown over a tree branch waiting for the hangman to pull the lever and lower the corpse into an ecclesiastical graveyard."

Apparently the right is the hangman in this case. Some news which has pleased the right include presentment charges brought up against the bishop of Conneticut. Such charges are meant to pave the way for a church trial against the bishop for disciplining 6 priests who have broken off from the diocese. Fr. Jake has a good article on the background of the fight in Conneticut as well as the strategies of those seeking punishments and expulsions.

The interest in going after the US church has widened to a number of churches around the world. For instance, Episcopal Church in Scotland is being targeted for it's inclusion of gay and lesbians in ordained leadership. That body is being drug in front the Panel of Reference, established by Rowan Williams to adjudicate church conflicts, so as to stop this practice. Canada has also been targeted along with the US. Some seek to go after the church in Brazil as well.

But the statement which captures the spirit of this movement was Nigerian primate Peter Akinola call for the Church of England to be suspended from the Anglican Communion after that body allowed gay clergy to participate in civil unions, along as celibacy was promised with such relationships. The double standard is breathtaking by the Church of England as celibacy is never asked of other clergy. But still any hint of endorsing gay clergy was too much for Akinola.

How does one claim the word Anglican and not have a relationship with Canterbury? It's like someone claiming to be Roman Catholic but not having a relationship with the Vatican. It's a contradiction. This over reach by the right means that, while a split in the communion is imminent, the only churches which can properly claim Anglicanism are those, like the US and Canada, which aim to keep relations with the Church of England.

The right will not be able to supplant the Episcopal Church nor have it thrown out of the communion. Rather they will have to make a decision of whether they wish to leave the communion and create their own new religious movement or not, because that appears to be the direction that many Anglicans in the Global South are opting to take. I agree with Father Jake. I think it's a tragedy that the church is unable to live together. But to live in the same body where folks continually attack each other as enemies cannot last.


At 6:24 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

> I think it's a tragedy that the church is unable to live together.

Quite. I've seen it before in other areas - the closer the remainder get, the more obnoxious they become about the remaining increasingly-trivial differences.

Your post brings to mind one question: is "liberal" merely the opposite faction defined as "not right-wing conservo-fasict evangelical", or does it truly accept and welcome all, evangelicals included?

As for this Akinola chap... it's not the first time we've seen homophobic reactions from African churches. One idea: we have to understand that in a lot of these countries, they're up against fundamentalist Islam, and therefore *competition* for souls is rife. And in realising that... wouldn't it be nice if those churches could look back at the West and recognize and jolly well *respect* the difference in cultures too?

At 9:59 PM , Blogger Ed H said...

'Your post brings to mind one question: is "liberal" merely the opposite faction defined as "not right-wing conservo-fasict evangelical", or does it truly accept and welcome all, evangelicals included?'

Depends what you mean by "accept and welcome." The "conservo-fascists" (to borrow your terms) tend to say they are being oppressed when they are not allowed to dictate policy for everyone, and under that definition of oppression, liberal Christians do indeed "oppress" the conservo-fascists.... as would anyone who did not bow to their whims.

But in broad generalization, to which there are probably many exceptions, there seems to be much more of a willingness to exist in honest disagreement among liberals than among conservatives.

If I were feeling cynical I would say that was probably because the liberals are less worried that people will jump ship if they are not chained to the decks than conservatives...

At 5:17 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ed says:
> Depends what you mean by "accept and welcome."

True :)

There are several levels of this; a church can possibly bar others at the door, or let them in and then decide it doesn't like the look of them; or let them in to worship, or let them in, to worship and hold roles of leadership. The first two are not even accepting; the latter two are accepting and various degrees of welcoming.

It does seem, from what you say, that the liberal camp is (supposed to be) the bigger-picture view. That's reassuring.

At 5:44 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've just re-read this post in the light of http://www.anglican.ca/news/news.php?newsItem=2005-07-28_afroconend.news. Is it me or is that actually a positive statement of "ubuntu" from Afro-Anglicans? (Worthwhile reading down to the text of the Accord.)

At 1:33 PM , Blogger frog said...

Excellent post. Thank you.


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